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The former daughter-in-law of the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, was contacted multiple times by both the Manhattan district attorney's office and the state attorney general's office. CBS News investigative reporter Graham Kates joins "Red and Blue" anchor Elaine Quijano with the latest developments in a pair of investigations into former President Trump and his real estate company.
- New York prosecutors appear to be zeroing in on top executives at the Trump organization as part of two separate investigations into the former president. A spokesperson for Jennifer Wiesselberg tells CBN News, her client was contacted multiple times by both the Manhattan District Attorney's office and the attorney general's office. She is the former daughter-in-law of the Trump organization's chief financial officer Alan Wiesselberg.
Manhattan DA Cy Vance is leading a wide ranging criminal probe into Mr. Trump, and the Trump Organization. It's for potential financial crimes, including hush money payments, tax evasion, and fraud. And in a separate probe, New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the company for potential manipulation of property values. Mr. Trump has called the investigation a witch hunt.
CBS News Investigative Reporter Graham Kates has been following the story and joins us now. Hi, there, Graham. So what information might Jennifer Wiesselberg have, which would be of interest to New York prosecutors?
GRAHAM KATES: They asked her about a couple of things that are intriguing from the perspective of someone who's watching this case unfold. The first thing is that they wanted to know about an apartment that she shared with her ex-husband that was either gifted to her by Donald Trump, or could have been like a job related perk. And that is that after they got married, they got to live at this Central Park South, very expensive, fancy apartment.
And it was actually owned by the Trump organization, but she and her husband never paid rent on it. They paid about $400 a month in utilities, and eventually, after they moved, the Trump organization sold it for $2.75 million. And that could be interesting. Because if investigators are trying to get Alan Wiesselberg, the CFO, to give information, the fact that they could have something maybe on his own son is something that could be a card they can play in other words.
And then the other thing is they asked her for just kind of other documentation related to her father in law, her ex-husband. They even asked questions about another Wiesselberg named Jack, who works for a company that lent money to the Trump organization, and she said that information was provided to forensic accountants that are working with the Manhattan District Attorney's office. And what forensic accountants do is they try to follow the money back to its source and search for crimes along the way, so they're starting with the apartment. But they're really digging on it in a wider scale, even starting with her, someone who didn't even work for the company.
- It's so interesting, Graham. How has the face of these investigations changed since former President Trump left office?
- It's really operating differently now. There is a couple of things. The first is that he was able to use the power of the presidency in some ways to put roadblocks in the way of the investigation, and then the second thing that happened that really helped speed it up was the Supreme Court gave the Manhattan District Attorney the ability to get about eight years worth of tax returns for Donald Trump. We're talking millions of pages that they're poring through right now, and that allows them to really start creating new threads that they could pull at as they try to see if there's any crime that was committed, of course, or if they determine that there wasn't any.
- So you mentioned this, that the prosecutors are now looking through these eight years of former President Trump's taxes, looking to identify potential witnesses. But Graham, who are the key figures in this case, and are they cooperating?
- Some of the key figures that we know about right now are his former attorney Michael Cohen, who, of course, is cooperating with investigators and has cooperated with several investigations into Donald Trump. We know that several investigations have previously tried to get Alan Wiesselberg to give them information about how the Trump organization works. We know that investigations have done depositions of Eric Trump, and some of the other kind of more well-known figures in the Trump organization.
And they're also now beginning to focus on some of the financing around some of the major properties in New York and other places that the Trump organization owns. We know of, at least, five in New York alone, where there have been subpoenas related to the financing for those buildings. So that's just the financial records themselves are beginning to open themselves up to investigators in this last few months.
- Well, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced that he will retire at the end of this year. How will that impact the Trump investigation?
- In some ways, it won't. The Manhattan District Attorney's office is going to continue moving forward with this, and we know that. Because in December, I spoke to every candidate who is trying to replace Cy Vance.
And they all said that, at a baseline, they'd like to make sure that this investigation goes, until it reaches a conclusion. And, of course, if before he leaves office, he recommends charges, they all said that they think it's in the interest of criminal justice, frankly, to pursue the case vigorously. Because they want to show the people of New York that even the most powerful people in the world won't escape justice at the hands of the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
- All right, Graham Kates. Graham, I know this is a story you are continuing to cover. Graham, thank you very much.
- Thank you.